Some Truth Can Kill You

Some Truth Can Kill You- Alexei Navalny was killed last week for speaking the truth.


When I write about telling the truth in the world, I sometimes say, “It could get you killed.” It’s not likely to happen because many of us are blessed to live somewhere where there is still free speech. Being canceled is not as bad as being killed and has a much better chance of being temporary as social tides change. 


But last week, Alexei Navalny was killed in an Arctic Russian gulag where he was falsely held. Having been poisoned and exposed to a nerve agent previously, he had overcome attempts on his life already. Finally, after refusing to stay in exile, Alexei Navalny was murdered by his government. 


Though the false charges included embezzlement, extremism, and fraud, Navalny’s only crime was telling the truth about the authoritarian and Stalinist nature of the Russian regime. 


Bari Weiss, in her article on Navalny, said, 


In our world of cynicism and cowardice, it often doesn’t seem so simple. But Navalny’s life—a life lived in truth—and his death—a death for the sake of truth—gives the lie to the moral confusion all around us. 


The life and death of Navalny insists on the following: there is a free world and an unfree world. There is right and there is wrong. There is better and worse, good and evil. There is truth, and there are lies. And heroes, however imperfect, walk among us still. 


Since there is “right and there is wrong…good and evil,” we have to speak and write the truth. I feel melodramatic writing about this today because I’ve never had to muster the courage to tell the truth, knowing it might kill me. I’m guessing most of you haven’t either. So, can we who are safe learn from a man like Navalny?


First, there are other kinds of death: death of relationships, death of popularity, death of a career, and death of a current self, built on little lies. If maintaining any of these requires you to be dishonest, especially in your writing, then you are living a subhuman life. 


We write to communicate truth. Some truths are more grave than others, but all truth is important because existence is concrete, and warping the truth warps the fabric and structure of reality. If you distort reality in any way, there is room for evil to take advantage. Evil lives in confusion, darkness, and silence. 


Today, consider your own willingness even to know the truth, let alone tell it. Do you want to know? If there is a truth that would wreck your life? Would you want to know it? 


Consider journaling on this question and the following: Is there anything I really don’t want to know? If something immediately comes to mind, grab hold of it and don’t let it go until you are sure why you don’t want to know—just journal about this. See what happens. 


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